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Community Feature: Double Vision with Luis Valle and Jay Bellicchi

Double Vision

Photo courtesy of Jay Bellicchi, used with permission

We’re looking forward to attending a double exhibition at DATELINE Contemporary Art Gallery, featuring the work of Luis Valle and Jay Bellicchi. The work on display will explore and contest themes of death, cultural heritage, and the artistic tradition of Memento Mori. There will be over 30 pieces of work on view and available for purchase, so art lovers won’t want to miss this. In this interview, Jay shares a bit about his background and what we can expect from the exhibition, commencing September 9

We understand that you and Luis are Miami-based artists. Can you tell us a bit about your backgrounds? What brings you to Denver?

Well I used to live in Colorado back in the mid 90’s. Colorado will always have a special place in my heart. I’m really looking forward coming back for the show and to get some painting in as well. Luis has been out there a couple times in the past year or so for a solo show and some mural jobs. But really we have Lorenzo Talcott to thank for all of this. He’s the one that brought Luis out originally. He’s responsible for getting DATELINE on board and curating this show.

Tell us about Momento Mori. Why is this tradition, in particular, so important to you and this exhibition?

Momento mori, simply put is a reminder of mortality. Nothing is permanent including our experience here in this world. So one aspect of the use of skulls in our work are a reminder to all, to live each day to the fullest. The history of skulls in art goes back to the beginning of time, its an iconic image which can invoke fear or inspiration depending on the nature or setting of the image as well as the viewer.

There is a heavy emphasis on images of mortality in this exhibition. Would you say this is focused more on an allusion to death, or is there something in this exhibition that might make certain viewers uncomfortable? 

Our show may feature a couple skulls but there is a lot more to it than that. Luis’ work has a strong emphasis on spirituality and vibrations. Some of my work is geometric which also can be interpreted as spiritual. My work also carries a message of new life or rebirth in that I am giving the used spray cans and caps ( which would otherwise be trash ) new purpose and new life as a piece of art.

How is this exhibition influenced by graffiti culture? Can you give us some examples of common street art elements that we might see here?

Luis and I both grew up doing graffiti to some extent. Our styles both grew out of that graffiti experience among other influences. The graffiti influence is a bit more evident in my work for the simple fact that I am using / recycling actual used caps and spray cans within my pieces. I also have a couple spray can sculptures in the show as well.

How is your work a good fit for Colorado culture (or that of Denver and RiNo, specifically)?

Our styles are very different but both represent Miami in our own ways. I believe anything new different and exciting is a good fit for anyplace with open minded people. Colorado is such a place. Also Ive been aware of the Colorado Crush Mural Festival for some time now, which takes place in the RiNo district. Luis and I are happy to be having the show in conjunction with the Crush Festival as well as painting walls for the festival while were out there.

Will all 30 pieces in this exhibition be available for purchase? Are you offering any sort of early viewing opportunities for those who are interested?

Yes the entire show will be available for purchase. Anyone interested in an early or private viewing of the show can contact DATELINE at ddaatteelliinnee@gmail.com

If people want to contact you or Luis personally, how may they do so?

The best way to see what were up to or contact us is through Instagram. I’m @grafftoyz and Luis is @el_chan_guri

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